Making fresh pasta is a pretty memorable experience. You take some of the simplest ingredients around, and with a little time and love, you create the quintessential crowd-pleasing food–but even better, because it’s fresh! Some of my favorite memories of making fresh pasta are with my mom and brother when my husband was working all weekend, and we made so much pasta that we couldn’t be bothered to cut all of it, so huge lasagna sheets abounded! Another time, my husband, friend Cristina and I made fresh pasta and three different sauces for a dinner party, and it’s safe to say we impressed everyone. And just recently, my sister-in-law reminded me how much I love to make it when she invited our fam over to try out her KitchenAid Mixer pasta rolling and cutting attachments–fancy! Whether you have the attachments or just a rolling pin and a knife, this recipe will work for you. I love to make the dough in my food processor, but you can also do it the old-fashioned way by making a pile of flour and a well with the wet ingredients in the center, gently working the wet ingredients into the flour with a fork. And to cut it, you can use a knife, a hand-cranked pasta machine, or one you attach to your mixer. Whatever way you get there, have fun and make some memories!
|Fresh Pasta|| |
- 4 cups of flour, very lightly packed in the measuring cup (even spoon it in with a tablespoon if you have the patience)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons water
- large pinch salt
- sprinkle of pepper
- Set up your food processor with the steel blade attachment.
- Place flour, salt and pepper in the processor bowl and pulse once or twice to mix.
- Crack the four eggs into the processor bowl and add the olive oil and the water. Turn on the mixer for a few seconds until all of the liquid has evenly dispersed into the flour. The dough should resemble wet sand and when you press it together, it should clump. (See photos below) It should not feel wet. If it does not press together and seems too dry, simply add a ½ tablespoon of water at a time, pulsing in between, until you get the right consistency.
- Dump the dough onto a clean, lightly floured counter and knead the dough into a ball using the heel of your hand. It may not be perfect, but it's ok. If it holds together, you are all set. If it is sticking to the counter, dust some flour over it.
- Important step: Wrap the pasta dough in plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter for at least 15 minutes, preferably 30.
- Unwrap the dough and cut into four equal pieces. Take one and wrap the others as you work.
- Add a little flour to the counter and flatten the dough with your hands, almost as if you're shaping pizza dough.
- Set your pasta machine to #1 and roll the dough through it. Then run it through at #2, and so on, until you reach the thickness you want for the pasta. I tend to like #5. If the dough is breaking and seems dry, you might need to moisten with a few drops of water and re-knead. If it's sticking to the machine, dust flour on it. It's all fixable!
- Once you have a nice long sheet of pasta dough, it's time to cut it. You can run it through your cutting attachments or do what I did and cut it by hand. Either way, first, cut the long sheet in half. Then, dust lightly with flour. Roll through desired cutting attachment or roll it up and cut it into pinwheels (see photo below).
- Place the pasta in little "nests" onto a sheet pan and toss with a generous bit of flour as you finish rolling out and cutting the rest.
- Once you have all the pasta cut and floured into nests, you can cover it and refrigerate it for up to 48 hours, dry it (though I never have so I can't give advice on how), or use it immediately by boiling for 2-4 minutes (taste it!) in a gallon of generously salted water. Enjoy with your favorite sauce! You can try my recipes for quick mushroom sauce or fresh tomato sauce.